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So you want to coach preps?

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by sportshack06, Jul 29, 2007.

  1. sportshack06

    sportshack06 Member


    Good article from a good guy who's covered preps before.

    I've seen this on the prep beats I've covered...and I saw one coach run out of town on a rail (And partly acceptable, he was sleeping with a former student - but it was going on before "former" was added to "student"). Coach went 1-9 in his last season and was ridiculed (Can't have personal issues with a lousy record) and run out of town.

    New coach hired....he's created a few issues with the same parents who ran the last coach out of town...now they're crying for more change, some even saying they wish they'd never gotten rid of the old coach...
  2. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    I know it's fashionable to bash pushy parents on this board (and with good reason, I'll grant), but I'm going to point out a big flaw with this article:

    Where are the parents?

    It's assumed that every parent is some nutbag, helicopter, overbearing whack-a-mole who is nothing but a raving, overprotective loony. I've seen this from both sides (parent and youth coach), and I'll say that parents learn clear as day that if you don't speak up for your kid early, they can get lost in the sports-industrial complex. Depending where you are, the politics can be that strong. It's not a case of the kid who's clearly an effin' stud, but that fine line between those that get ahead, and those who don't. I've seen travel teams chosen where the coach/parent (not me, of course!) is favoring his or her progeny, or friends -- or those whose parents speak up.

    Also, parents are spending a big amount of coin on sports (for better or worse). So once an athlete gets to the high school level, he or she has spent a lot of time, and parents a lot of money, on development.

    Another thing, and this applies well beyond sports -- it's also easy for parents to fall into the trap (often, because schools are encouraging this) that if Johnny or Jane doesn't get into the right academic/athletic/arts/whatever early enough and often enough, you may as well prepare them for a career as a shit shoveler. The pressure on kids and parents to succeed is way beyond what it was when I was growing up in the 1980s. I'm not sure coaches, particularly veteran coaches who still expect kids to say "how high" when they say "jump," appreciate this.

    That said, there's a right way and a wrong way for each side to approach these situations.

    Coaches should have their doors and phones open to parents with questions. If a teacher said a parent should just shut up, that teacher would be in a world of hurt. There's nothing wrong with coaches communicating early in the season to parents what their expectations are of the athletes and the parents, and laying out their whole philosophy. I found that headed off a lot of problems later on. And coaches shouldn't be insulted or afraid to explain why they're making the decisions they are. I had one parent in particular who was upset that I was "picking on" her son, who was talented but ill-tempered. I was politic in my discussion, but I made the point that the only way I was "picking on" her son was because I was giving him more responsibility on the team (he was one of my point guards), so that put him in a leadership role. Plus, I said that I knew her son was talented, and I wanted him to develop skills that would suit him well at the next levels.

    On the other hand, parents have to realize the coaches are in their own pressure situation, particularly at the high school level. Just like how a jerkoff coach can fuck around with an athlete's life, a jerkoff parents can fuck around with a coach's life -- with far more disastrous consequences. Parents do have to realize there is a way to approach a coach -- first, not in the heat of the moment, and second, with the assumption that you're having a discussion, not a lecture.

    Right now, it seems like we're still at a point where we have coaches who think their shit doesn't stink on one side, and parents who think the coach's shit does nothing but stink on the other. Let's face it, with the money at the end of the rainbow in sports, you have ambitious coaches and ambitious players (and their parents) knocking heads. The sooner coaches stop shaking their heads at parents -- and vice versa -- the better.

    I would think this writer might find it interesting to get the parents' point of view on this subject. Could be an interesting read.
  3. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    OK, but A) what parent wants to be labeled a pushy parent and B) what coach is going to point them out? They might say that "try this parent, they love to chat about their side" but it might follow with "but don't tell em how you found out about them."
  4. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    You've got rosters -- why not cold-call some parents? Or ask around? I'm sure any parent on the team could tell you who the pushiest parents are. Heck, if they're hanging out at practices, as the story says, all you have to do is walk up to them. Or, at a game, have someone point out the parents, and talk to them. (Granted, the timing of this story is such that a game isn't happening.) You don't need "pushy" parents. Just ask parents about their point of view. I presume not all the coaches he talked to were so-called old-school, either.
  5. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Obviously, Bob, you've never dealt with this type of situation.
    The parents will make anonymous phone calls and send unsigned e-mails bitching about a coach, but they wil never talk to a reporter on the record or even give a reporter their names..
    The coach will only say "parents." He will never call out specific parents, will never tell a reporter even off the record who those parents are because he doesn't want to embarrass some 16 or 17 year old kid who he probably actually likes, despite what pushy mom and dad might think.

    There is no doubt dealing with obnoxious parents is the greatest problem any high school coach faces theses days. It is a no-win situation for the coach because school superintendents (protecting their six-figure salaries) and board of ed members (on their own little power trips) rarely support the coach against parental pressure.
  6. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    In all the years I covered preps, I always knew where to find parents to talk....pushy ones and more reasonable ones that are talkative.
  7. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    I tend to think no parent will ever admit to being a shit disturber. It's always somebody else.
  8. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    I covered nine high schools at my first post-Navy rag. Every one of the parents who would be considered a "problem" always thought it was someone else to whom that label applied. Even the softball dad who brought in a graph showing what he felt was unbalanced coverage and unbalanced playing time.
  9. zagoshe

    zagoshe Well-Known Member

    You mean they are not?
  10. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    Of course they won't admit it. But that doesn't mean they won't give you something that will allow you to demonstrate the truth.
  11. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    I'm not saying you have to identify someone as "pushy parent." And if the parents don't want to be identified, that's their problem -- and something that will make them look exactly like the nutballs they might be. But I'm saying, for this story, a litany of bitching from coaches on how they don't get to slap little Johnny around anymore betrays the reporters' sympathies for them. I don't blame him, really. I'm sure he's tired of crazy parents calling him. But then again, why not attempt to talk to them? I'm sure they've emailed him -- why not email back?

    Whatever your feelings -- and my belief, as a youth coach and sports parent, is that there's plenty of blame on both sides -- the story is less interesting because the reporter didn't talk to parents, nor, for that matter, did he appear to ask the coach what makes a good sports parent. Or, has there ever been a case where a reasonable parent came in with a reasonable question. Is it just either parents who say nothing, or a few parents who blow up everything? For that matter, in talking to parents, the reporter might have gotten some parents who are ready to ream the pushy parents a new one -- now, that would have been interesting. Believe me, I had one situation as a coach -- which I would rather not go into detail in case the people involved find this -- where actions by one parent nearly caused a riot (justifiably) by nearly all the others.
  12. zagoshe

    zagoshe Well-Known Member

    A good sports parent -- one who brings his kids to practice and to games on time and make sure he or she picks their kids up on time. One who comes to the games and cheers for their child's team and trusts that the coach doesn't have a conspiracy to dis their child or cost him a scholarship.
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